“Lost but not forgotten,” has never been a truer statement to describe this upcoming September 11, marking the 15th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Though years have passed, community support and remembrance is still as strong as ever, as the Mineola Williston Park Athletic League (MWAL) will be hosting a softball tournament in honor of Vincent Giammona, a member of the FDNY who lost his life responding to the September 11 attacks.
“This is something we really wanted to do to signify our heroes,” said Michael Granath, commissioner of the MWAL. “This is someone who laid down his life for us, which we appreciate more than anything.”
The tournament will be held Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Wilson Park softball field in Mineola. Granath, in collaboration with fellow commissioners Rob Maloney and Chris Orlando, intends to set up a meet and greet with Vincent Giammona’s family and a station to accept donations.
The former lieutenant of Ladder 5, and a hero in every sense of the word, leaves behind a wife and four daughters who collectively work to keep his memory alive by giving back to the community of families who have also lost loved ones in the line of duty. The family is impressed with the fundraising work that the MWAL has done thus far through a GoFundMe page, and looks forward to the upcoming event.
“I thought that was so sweet that he doesn’t know us and is doing all this in memory of my husband,” said Theresa Giammona. “It gives me a hopeful feeling that people truly never forget.”
Though little is known about his final moments in the World Trade Center, it is believed that Vincent Giammona saved the lives of many individuals in the North Tower before its collapse. That morning before rushing to Ground Zero, he was on the phone with his wife discussing how they would celebrate his 40th birthday, which happened to be that day. Though he never made it home, his family is proud knowing that he put his life on the line for the sake of others.
“My husband was a hero,” said Theresa Giammona. “I’m forever proud of him and and all the firemen and policemen in New York.”
All donations raised from the tournament and GoFundMe page will go directly toward Answer the Call: The New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund. The nonprofit organization provides financial assistance to the families of police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel killed while on the job. So far, the MWAL has raised $370 for the organization, but hopes to reach its goal of $5,000 in total after the tournament has taken place.
Granath and the Giammona family encourage anyone who’s interested to attend the tournament, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by a gathering at Knights of Columbus at 168 Jericho Tpke. from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.
“Come down and support a cause that has affected our lives in so many different ways,” said Granath. “They sacrificed their lives for us and it’s the least we can do for them.”